A Matter of Choice- Tertiary Student Term Time Employment: An Investigation of New Zealand Domestic and Chinese International Students
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce (Hons)
Term time employment of tertiary students has increased dramatically following funding policy changes in the global Higher Education sector. Taking a comparative approach, this study of students at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, investigates the decision to work during the academic term, the characteristics of such employment, and the perceived impacts on the university experiences of New Zealand domestic and Chinese international students.
The study revealed similarities and differences between the two largest student populations. Compared to their New Zealand peers, Chinese international students are less likely to take term time employment. Among those who have worked, New Zealand domestic students do so for financial reasons, while Chinese international students value the work experience in the host country. Chinese international students receive much lower wages and tend to have shorter employment durations. In terms of perceived impacts, both New Zealand domestic and Chinese international students express a generally positive attitude towards their employment decisions, with a limited but clear awareness of the negative impacts. Interestingly, for those who have never worked, Chinese international students indicate a much stronger willingness to join the student workforce in the future. New Zealand domestic students, however, are much less likely to work if they can afford not to.
This research provides empirical information about international students’ term time employment in the New Zealand context. Specific advice and mentoring services are needed at both university and government levels to provide ‘a more safe and supportive’ employment environment, especially for international students.